The Battle for Art

Just listened to a radio programme ‘The Battle for the Detroit Art Gallery.’ The city is bankrupt, the city owns the city Art Gallery so is considering selling the art it houses to pay for the day to day needs of Detroit’s people. There is a debate going on. If someone goes bankrupt, then their assets are sold off. Is a city any different? Which is more important, people being made homeless, facilities being cut back, or a gallery housing Art for you to go and look at?

If the Art is sold, it will be bought by extremely wealthy collectors around the globe who are keen to add pieces to their private collections. PRIVATE collections, which means the general public will not have daily access to it. This isn’t just about Detroit. Other cities are considering this option. Which means more Art is taken from the public domain into the private.

So. If certain people are so wealthy they can buy one or several Matisse’s for example, why don’t they consider paying a yearly sum into keeping the entire gallery open for everyone? If all the collectors did this, then Art Galleries around the world would remain a place of inspiration for everyone, not a few.

And then there is the gap between the very wealthy and the rest. That is another debate, for another blog, but like in many situations, there are overlaps. If, as it seems to be happening, the very things that give us our dreams and aspirations and hope are taken away and kept for only the very wealthy, then the gap becomes not only about money, but much much more.

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